Jason came in and sat down. I liked Jason because he reminded me of a hippy and I like hippies. I wanted to be his friend. I went over and talked to him. Found out that he was waiting to meet with apastor because he was wrestling with questions about spirituality - like none of us do. He talked briefly about his struggle with “all of this” is what he said as he looked around at the empty church coffee shop, vacant lobby, and lonely auditorium at lunch time on a Tuesday.
Honestly there isn't much I remember from the conversation other than listening to him and thinking, “What could I say to someone who is struggling to believe in God as a paid pastor and seminarian?” I only remember having pure respect for Jason because he had the courage to question, to wrestle, to doubt. In most religious communities this is marginalizing behavior.
Not quite understanding the breadth of what I was about to say to him, I had an overwhelming rush of emotion, and overwhelming burden to make sure he knew he was accepted and that right where he was is where he needed to be. I said, “You know, I am not sure what it is you are looking for, but I am sure you are a lot closer to what we are all looking for than those who show up Sunday after Sunday.” Tears filled both of our eyes and Pastor Dave showed up to take Jason out to lunch.
Have you ever asked why certain experiences can’t escape your memory and continually get recalled? Have you ever wondered why certain moments grab you emotionally more than others? I have pondered this experience with Jason for over 10 years asking those questions and just now beginning to see the truth emerge.
Get ready everyone… I honestly think we are at the beginning of a new era. Entering this new era of science, technology, globalism and spirituality, atheism might be a necessary journey for us to discover the depth of our being - why we are here. In 1963 John A.T. Robinson with profound wisdom saw this time coming said, “No one wants to live in such a period, and one could heartily wish it were not necessary. But the signs are that we are reaching the point at which the whole conception of God ‘out there’, which has served us so well since the collapse of the three-decker universe, is itself becoming more of a hindrance than a help.” As we approach this new era, we have to let certain things die.
Now I am beginning to see that through out history God had to die several times and be resurrected several times to incarnate the culture of the present. What does that mean? Do we have enough courage to say there is no God in order for us to properly cleanse ourselves from our own God? Do we have the courage to truly let go, to free fall, to enter the darkness, embrace the mystery, welcome the unknown? Do we have the courage to stop building, forcing, selling, arguing, proving, and allow what remains be the hope and radiance that guides us into a new life here and now?